Five (Easy) Ways to Go Green At the Office

green-home-office-01It’s Monday morning – say so long to the weekend and welcome in the start of another work week. Typically, we lack that ‘get-up-and-go’ attitude as we head into work on Monday, but this week, I’m challenging you to start anew and start making a few (simple) changes in your everyday habits. Grab a cup of coffee (in a reusable mug) and read on for some tips on how to green your previously non-eco-friendly work environment.

TURN OUT THE LIGHT, OPEN A WINDOW. Those beaming lights overhead account for almost half of all electricity use in office buildings. Turn off your lights and open a window when you can. Going out to lunch? Make it a habit to kill the lights before heading out. Your computer isn’t afraid of the dark.

MAXIMIZE COMPUTER EFFICIENCY. Getting your company to invest in energy-saving computers might be impossible, but we can all give our computers well-deserved rest after a full day of rocking out documents and spreadsheets. Remember to turn off the PC (and even better, unplug it from the outlet – eliminate that ‘phantom’ energy consumption).

SAVE SOME TREES. The average U.S. office worker goes through nearly 10,000 sheets of paper per year. Think about how much you print out on a daily basis. Then think about how much gets tossed in the trash. Print less if you can, and make the extra effort to recycle old documents. No recycling in your office – get the ball rolling yourself!

GO DIGITAL. Technology can be a wonderful eco-tool! Think before you print. Does that 50-page PowerPoint NEED to be printed out for your boss to review, or can it just as easily be looked at via email? Practice ‘smart  printing’ and reduce your companies environmental impact.

WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE. I get it, morning coffee is a crucial part to the start of every day. Odds are, you were huddled around the office coffee pot this morning with a few coworkers. But, did you bring your own mug? Or did you use the paper cups the office provides? Buy a travel mug and reuse, reuse, reuse. Not only will it keep your cup of joe warmer, but you’ll reduce the amount of non-recyclable trash. As an added bonus, many coffee houses, including Starbucks, offer a 10% discount for using your own travel mug. Quite the win/win, right?

Commit to changing a few of your office habits. Start turning off the lights, buy a reusable travel mug, walk the extra 20 feet to your office’s recycling bin, turn off your computer before heading home today – make a few changes STARTING TODAY. Then challenge and inspire your coworkers to do the same. Start a green office revolution!

GET INVOLVED: What other ways can you become more eco-friendly at work. If you start changing some habits, share your story here. I would love to hear about what YOU are doing to minimize your office’s environmental impact.

grassbanner4


Work smarter and live better. SUBSCRIBE TO THE HUSTLE.
When you sign up for THE HUSTLE, you'll get regular wisdom, insight, and resources delivered directly to your inbox (not to mention, plenty of 90's pup culture references). What more could you want?
10 Responses
  • The weakonomist Reply

    As someone who has worked in IT, check with your do company's IT guy before you turn off that computer. Many security updates run overnight to avoid wasting your time during the day by bogging down your computer. We get in big trouble for turning off the machines at night. That isn't to say you shouldn't at least talk to your IT folks about a different policy, I think it would be a great idea to turn them off. Just check with your company first.

  • The weakonomist Reply

    As someone who has worked in IT, check with your do company's IT guy before you turn off that computer. Many security updates run overnight to avoid wasting your time during the day by bogging down your computer. We get in big trouble for turning off the machines at night.

    That isn't to say you shouldn't at least talk to your IT folks about a different policy, I think it would be a great idea to turn them off. Just check with your company first.

  • Matt Reply

    Good advice. It’s never a wise idea to get on the wrong side of the IT crew. They have more power than (most) of us realize. Thanks for the input and for coming by the blog!

  • Matt Reply

    Good advice. It’s never a wise idea to get on the wrong side of the IT crew. They have more power than (most) of us realize. Thanks for the input and for coming by the blog!

  • Eva Reply

    Ditch the water bottles! It’s amazing how many companies not only over-use the small 16 oz water bottles but also fail to recycle the empties!

    • Ruhan Reply

      I don’t know what happened beewetn the last version of Office (which I hate, but use) and this new version (which I also hate, and ended up deleting and going back to old version) it is completely unstable. This is not new to MS Office for Mac earlier versions (2004 etc) also crashed regularly, without saving your data, causing heartache and loss of data. That was generally fixed with MSO:M 2008 but guess what, the problem is back in MSO:M 2011 Very unstable frequent crashes, and ultimately I had to delete this completely from my mac and reinstall my older versions of MS Office. Not ready for prime time (even though it looks nice once you open Word or Excel). I would avoid this for now until we hear if this is fixed in future updates.

  • Eva Reply

    Ditch the water bottles! It’s amazing how many companies not only over-use the small 16 oz water bottles but also fail to recycle the empties!

  • Matt Reply

    I bring my $4 Eddie Bauer water bottle to work everyday. Simple and efficient way to reduce office waste!

  • moon815 Reply

    Nice guide! I really love that starbucks offer discounts for people using their own Travel Mugs. I wish more people realized how much money they could save by doing this. I see the same people daily in starbucks who are loosing money by not taking advantage of the offer.

  • Matt Reply

    I bring my $4 Eddie Bauer water bottle to work everyday. Simple and efficient way to reduce office waste!

Leave a Reply